Art Piece by Norwegian Architecture Firm, Addresses a Theme of "Time Space Existence" at the Venice 2021 Architecture Biennale

Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio, a firm renowned for exploring architecture with an artistic approach to the world, is proud to unveil “Il primo cerchio del paradiso”, the studio’s contribution to the Venice 2021 Architecture Biennale. Addressing a theme of “Time Space Existence”, works submitted to the exhibition will be on display in the Giardini Della Marinaressa in Venice from May 23 - November 29.


Photo credit: Giulio Grillo

A full circle of cultural connectivity

With ‘Il primo cerchio del paradiso’, Hans-Petter Bjørnådal retraces the cultural connections between his native Norway and Venice dating back to 1432, when a North Sea storm altered the voyage of a Venetian merchant ship that had set sail for the Netherlands. After finding refuge on a small island off the Norwegian coast, the ship’s captain indulged in the cultural and geographic wonder of a place he would characterize as “Paradise's first circle”.


Photo credit: Ketil Born

As dried Norwegian cod found a receptive market in Venice, the fishing trade became a staple of cultural connectivity between the two countries. By exploring Norway’s communication with the outside world, ‘Il primo cerchio del paradiso’ is Bjørnådal’s interpretation of those connections, both past and present, with a strong emphasis on current issues such as climate change, environmental consciousness, and the merits of returning to a simpler way of life.


Photo credit: Ketil Born

The project is a Norwegian gesture of simple living, but also a reflection of our current need for a shift in direction and consciousness in order to address climate change. The essence of the message is that a simple life, in harmony with nature, is still a viable path to discovering paradise.

Hans-Petter Bjørnådal, Lead Architect of Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio

The ties that bind

Within the broad context of the exhibition’s “Time Space Existence” theme, Bjørnådal embarked on his interpretation of the natural simplicity of connections established long ago by the fish trade. His work is an artistic blend of two traditional methods employed for drying fish in Norway, as well as a tribute to the men who set sail between the two nations in the form of a wooden hull, reminiscent of early trade ships. Constructed of pine and steel wires, and measuring 5m high and 2.9m wide, the work incorporates the free hexagon geometry of Nordic building traditions in interpreting nearly 600 years of connectivity in a simplistic form.


Photo credit: Giulio Grillo

The fishing trade has endured for centuries as a foundation of cultural connectivity between Norwegians and Venetians, and it is based on a very simple connection to our natural environment.

Hans-Petter Bjørnådal, Lead Architect of Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio


A sustainable emphasis

To further emphasize Hans-Petter Bjørnådal’s sentiments toward greater environmental awareness, he worked closely with a firm called Rebiennale to procure the necessary materials for building ‘Il primo cerchio del paradiso’. Rebiennale is a collaborative project comprising a network of Venetian citizens, students, architects, artists, and political activists who exchange ideas, methods, and skills to build creative works using recycled materials derived from past iterations of the Venice Biennale Exhibition.


Photo credit: Giulio Grillo

About Bjornadal Arkitektstudio

Founded in 2007, Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio delivers architectural services throughout Norway and has established a reputation for harmonizing client styles and personal preferences with their natural surroundings. The firm’s work is applied to new building construction, as well as to existing buildings through rehabilitations, extensions, renovations, and reallocations. The firm embraces sustainability and durability as core values, with an emphasis on energy-saving solutions and durable materials. Lead architect, Hans-Petter Bjornadal, focuses on cultivating unique solutions that align with the environment, while embracing an approach that incorporates people, landscapes, cultures, sociology, mythology, and more to develop projects that are relevant to real-world experiences.

Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio has been recognized internationally through numerous accolades and awards, and Hans-Petter Bjornadal is currently collaborating with organizers of Bodo2024, European Capital of Culture, to lay the foundations of an event that will celebrate the very best of Norway.

Venice 2021 Architecture Biennale

Date23. May - 29. November, 2021
Place Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Mora and Giardini della Marinaressa Venezia, Italia
Theme”Time Space Existence”